Science in Society Journalism Award entries open until Feb. 1
With five categories, cash prizes, no entry fees, an online entry platform, and submissions open to members and non-members alike, we hope that you enter your best work from 2016 and spread the word to your colleagues, friends, and networks. You can even post to your choice of social media outlets from within the entry platform. Entries for the 2017 Science in Society Journalism Awards close at 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, Feb. 1.
Harassment and even demonization are becoming disturbingly common, with science journalists among the targets, Keith Kloor writes: "The more you report facts, the less they seem to matter. Anyone who’s been on the front lines of the climate wars, feel free to nod along. The same goes for you scientists and science communicators who have gotten entangled in the genetically modified organism (GMO) thicket or who have chased anti-vaccine activists down a rabbit hole."
Who's qualified to edit a Nobel literature laureate? If you're Gabriel García Márquez, you might send your work to Fidel Castro for review, Danuta Kean writes. Quoting from Stéphanie Panichelli-Batalla, co-author of a book about the unusual relationship between the two men: "After reading his book The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor, Fidel had told Gabo there was a mistake in the calculation of the speed of the boat. This led Gabo to ask him to read his manuscripts."
Tabitha M. Powledge covers, to the extent possible, the outlook for climate science, the Affordable Care Act, and vaccines in a Trump administration: "I’ve been putting off writing about what the TrumPets will do to science and medicine because it’s been so unclear. That’s still true, but what with the inauguration almost upon us, it seems important to lay out some of the possibilities — even though real plans are still a mystery. Assuming there are any real plans."
Journalism has changed a lot in the past decade, but media law courses in journalism school hardly at all, Ricardo Bilton writes: "Journalism schools rarely teach key digital legal topics such as net neutrality, encryption, the legal liability of retweets, and the 'right to be forgotten.' In a sense, media law courses at journalism schools are subject to the same problem that some journalism schools face as a whole: an institutional bias towards print and broadcast."
As if there was any lingering doubt about the editorial practices of low-quality online scientific journals, a Canadian reporter named Tom Spears got one to publish an editorial ridiculing itself: "We suspect the journal may have published the piece online without actually reading it — which would explain why it allowed its own editorial to accuse it of cheating, of being a wolf in sheep’s clothing that preys on scientists, of self-aggrandizement and of smelling bad."
David Uberti discusses the "fake news panic," arguing that a few cases of sloppy reporting by major news outlets can warp public debate just as much as calculated hoaxes and distortions: "Left out of most critiques of fake news is mainstream outlets’ own role in misinforming the public, and how we should compare the end effects of well-intentioned journalistic misfires to legitimate hoaxes produced to affect politics or make a few bucks off of programmatic digital ads."
Thousands of books are published each day, but still more never get published at all. Dan Blank writes that the problem often boils down to a few things — authors who don't know their audience, or don't understand marketing, or write competent books that just don't resonate with readers: "Say what you want about some popular authors or creators: they know how to move someone. To get people to keep turning pages. Keep buying books. Keep telling friends about them."
Leighton Walter Kille follows up on the Trump upset with a review of the basics of polling — explaining why, for example, a poll's sample size is related to its sampling error, and why even the best pollsters sometimes come up wildly wrong: "It’s important to remember that polls are a snapshot of opinion at a point in time. Despite 60 years of experience since Truman defied the polls and defeated Dewey in the 1948 presidential election, pollsters can still miss big."